By Erica Fugger
Last Thursday, former Union student Kyle Carey revisited campus with fellow musicians Neil Fitzgibbon and Rosie MacKenzie, joining the three performers in a stateside showcase of folk talent.
Carey, who attended Union for a year in 2004, transferred to Skidmore College for the remainder of her undergraduate career before spending time in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, on a Fulbright Scholarship. She later took her studies to Scotland, increasing her fluency and further ensuring a place for the island’s native language in her artistic endeavors.
Drawing upon Gaelic tone and tradition, along with paying tribute to American folk culture, Carey’s performances came to reflect the sentiment of such styles, bridging the gap of continents and time periods.
Appearing under the title, “Gaelic Americana,” this artist’s talents have combined with the acoustic accompaniments of Irish native Neil Fitzgibbon and the powerful tone of Rosie MacKenzie’s fiddle for a fall tour, finding time to sojourn at Emerson Music Hall along their travels.
Sponsored by Green House, along with both the English and Music Departments, the show’s low campus turnout last Thursday did not reflect the level of talent the three brought to the performance space.
Carey’s award-winning tune, “Adeline,” draws upon the southern tradition of “rattlesnake Baptists,” a practice in which religious adherents test their faith by enduring the bite of a serpent. The result often leaves children orphaned, as is chronicled through the artist’s description of “Kentucky’s sacred child, Adeline.”
Not only are the words of her song moving in and of themselves, calling upon possibilities of religious questioning as a result of early childhood experience, but the chorus harmonies create a deeper universality to the number. The acoustic cords accompany well Carey’s vocals, while the violin adds sentimentality to her words.
Reflected through the emotion displayed on the musicians’ faces, the passion fueling the performance was quite affecting. As Carey reflected back on her days at Union, speaking of the political, albeit good-naturedly humorous, jabs of her favorite English professor, the show took on an even more relatable atmosphere.
But it all seemed to call to mind possible rationalizations of why such talent was not better supported by the college community. Although certainly there is much else to do on campus during the first few weeks of Fall Term, and folk music is only slowly regaining strong footholds among the nation’s youth, it is somewhat disheartening that such talent was not seen by the greater Union College population.
Despite such a reality, the show was well-received by those in attendance and indicated vast potential for continued success in the musicians’ subsequent endeavors.
To hear more of Kyle Carey’s music and gain information on future tour dates, please visit the artist’s website at http://www.kyleannecarey.com.